Saturday, January 23, 2016

DIY - With Back UP

For those of you who have followed this blog for a few years you know the current "Range" is a labor of love.  Some say we were crazy, my selling my four bedroom, three bath custom McMansion and giving away ten's of thousands of furnishings to Veteran groups and Partner not getting one of those yuppie condos along the lake like the successful members of his graduating class.  No - we have a hundred year old fixer upper Bungalow with just our most prized books and possessions, all kinds of charm and no giant mortgage.

It's only 20 some miles from the city but it's on a very deep lot, with a long driveway and big separate garage, unusual given the age of the neighborhood.  It has a tiny front and back yard, but has two nice side yards giving some distance from neighbors lined with full grown spruce, lending quiet and privacy to the place.  From here, each of us can take a non-freeway, backroad to work, each in 40  minutes (opposite directions).
Homes in the Village are in the upper 300,000's to 400,000's range. We'll have, even with professional builders for kitchen and bath, about 280,000 cash in the place,doing all the restorative work DIY.  We don't plan on moving, Partner won't retire for 34 more years, we're more likely to build a little cabin or restore an old caboose out in the country for the weekends when I retire in 5-7 years.
Yes, this would be too cool

But it's been a lot of work, complete landscaping (small patches of dead grass don't count) complete new plumbing and rewiring, more plumbing, subfloors, wood restoration, removing stained wallpaper, plasterwork.  There's still a lot more to do, a main floor bath last redone in the late 60's, new steps front and back, a chimney that's coming out to make storage space in the back of the house and the "Green Acres" sunroom, that has a lot of potential (and is home to the farmhouse sink that's going into the kitchen remodel so I have a full length countertop where it is currently tiny counter/sink/tiny counter)

But it went from looking like this (big ugly window has to go)
to this

And this (dirty wallpaper and Liberace chandelier and too many doors).
to this

And the pink master bedroom. . .
was given some lace curtains and  a more golden glow.
We kept the same basic colors - just updated and cleaned up a bunch, rewiring but keeping the wall sconces.

All the heavy drapes came down and delicate sheers and lace from the thrift shop went up. Given how far above the street level the main floor sits (walk out basement) people can't look in, even if they came through the trees onto the property, though we're building canvas blinds for some of the windows.
And what once an ugly bedroom downstairs we didn't need, with a great view off the porch
Became a spot where two books were written

We did everything ourselves, including restoring all the "found on curb" furniture we added. But when it came time to do the bathrooms and kitchen I called in back up.

Why - because all I could think to do with this involved C4 which the Village was NOT going to give me a permit for.
We were lucky to get the gentleman (a former physicist, turned builder/designer) that did the famous"Meathead's" kitchen (amazing ribs dot com). 

Because you need a professional like that to turn the Mamie Eisenhower Pink bathrooms and"that bathroom whose name may not be spoken"
into something a little more tranquil and fitting the house.
Or a place for a quiet soak after a long day.
Today - we went to his business and picked out everything for the kitchen.  You all remember the kitchen, with the horrific peeling red linolium from the "water-inator" post?

Partner removed the floor and subfloor (which was NOT an easy task as we didn't know if it had asbestos, and it didn't) and laid in tile.  I wanted to keep the antique appliances and design a kitchen around those and Mom's  colorful Swedish Horse collection which will be on top of the new cabinets.
A new subfloor went in (as well as an antique light fixture that came from a local storefront in a "going out of business" sale (the plasterwork will be completed when it's warm again, this was  basic structural and electrical only work).

Then the tile.  Still there were the solid metal cabinets and someone covered in contact paper (yes, contact paper).
Today - we went in, wrote a check, and selected our custom cabinets,counters, back tile and lighting. The cupboards will be white maple (and who knew there were so many shades of white)
The countertops will be dark.  The lighting in the store doesn't do the color justice - it's a rich dark slate color with a bit of marbling to it that compliements the dark blue black floor tile perfectly.
 and the handles will fit in quite nicely with the fittings on the 70 year old antique stove.
It's cute and there's a lot of memories of us in this kitchen with this stove so I can't get rid of it.
This is just a rough hand drawing, but you get the idea.  The farm house sink will be 90 degrees to this and the frame it's mounted on will join up with counter to form a nice junction where I can work. The backsplash will be an antique looking tile. Yes, no dishwasher, in a tiny kitchen like this that is wasted space.

When you've made your new lamp out of an old coffee can - sometimes new-fangled just doesn't impress.
I think Mom's Swedish Horses (and friends) would approve.


  1. Your home is warm and beautiful. I might be guilty of coveting that stove!

  2. That conversion went from old & ugly to old & beautiful/warm & inviting. Well done, you two!

  3. Wowsers!
    The contact paper reminds me of years ago getting my first house and dad giving the old family Kelvinator that i dressed up with contact paper only to be watching SNL with friends the next week where they mocked covering a fridge with contact paper.
    We all laughed.

  4. That coffee can lamp is known as a "Primitive"... Personally I'd have one of those on every one of my desks

    Rich in NC

  5. A pink bathroom? Shudder..I would a used, maybe a 'small' amount of explosives....Looks nice!

  6. That house is gorgeous. I love me some bungalows. My dream house is a Craftsman style bungalow (minus the pink bathroom). The caboose idea sounds fun, but I'm more of a cabin guy.

  7. You should reverse-engineer a tv reno show! Show the masses how it's done.
    'Property Partners-in-Grime'?


    1. We've actually had some fun in the kitchen with an re-inactment of "type A cooking school - "I TOLD you to stir it for three and ONE QUARTER Minutes!".

      Yes - that's us.

  8. So when you retire will you become the "master rejuvenator" ?


    1. I truly hope it's all done when I retire and I can just charge lawyers big dollars per day to be an expert witness.

  9. That bathroom "before" picture is... well, I guess your choices were to remodel or get a matching '59 Edsel.

    The "before" palette reminds me of a house that a friend of mine bought. Both bedrooms had recently been professionally painted, and very well too, at least on technical grounds; unfortunately one of them was the color of Pepto-Bismol and the other was Mint Kaopectate.

    Your "after" pictures all look enviable and well worth the effort, though!

    As for how many shades of white there are, I wouldn't have believed it either until I'd owned three white cars, two made by the same manufacturer in the same decade, none of which used the same touch-up paint...

    1. I read your comment to my husband and he about snorted his tea. We have one main floor bath left to do - it's SO not going to be pink.

  10. Just one word: Lovely!
    May you both spend many happy, wonderful years there.
    love the plunger and rubber ducky):o)


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